Just because a director makes a small, successful movie, doesn’t mean Disney should give them over a hundred million dollars to make another one. Take Ava DuVernay, director of “Selma” and “13th,” for example. The initial success doesn’t guarantee similar success with a big blockbuster film.
DuVernay’s adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time” was a big deal as the first black female director with a $103 million budget. Following a renewed interest in the book, an all-star cast and more actors of color in the movie, including the main character Meg, there was plenty of hype for this movie.
The film begins with a younger Meg and her father Mr. Murray (Chris Pine) having fun in his office while he teaches her physics. This is the only scene establishing their relationship, which is less than what the book reveals. The film then flashes forward to present time depicting her father’s four-year disappearance.
As the film moves on, Meg struggles with her classes and shuts people out. This is expressed by Meg throwing a ball at a bully’s face after being teased about her dad’s disappearance.
Later that day, Meg and her adopted brother Charles Wallace meet Mrs. Whatsit, (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), three immortal women from the universe who came to help them find their father. They tell the kids that their father traveled to a different part of the universe using a theory he and their mother had been working on for years. This act is called “tesseract,” where you pinch space to make time travel instantaneous, like wrinkling space and time.
The three immortal ladies guide Meg, Charles and Meg’s classmate Calvin O’Keefe through the universe to find Mr. Murray.
Watching the different destinations felt like binging an entire season on Netflix. There was so much going on, and it felt rushed to get to the visuals and the elaborate costume changes of the three Mrs.
The computer-generated images look obvious and didn’t blend in well with the colorful environments. The different scenes that were filmed to distinguish between the planets looked amazing, notably New Zealand.
The scene that was filmed in Sequoia Park was brief. If that scene was longer, you could probably guess where in the park they filmed it (Duck Pond? Windstorm Meadow? By the swings?). Also, the ending of the film felt like it came out of nowhere, which shows the overall message of “love defeats evil.” It didn’t make much sense for the story or the characters, except to show Meg’s character arc.
What DuVernay brought to the movie was good overall, especially with casting the main character as a bi-racial girl interested in physics. Certain scenes appeared more impactful, like when Calvin kept complimenting Meg’s hair, a moment that happens in the book, but felt more heartwarming to see her black curly hair.
Whether or not this film spawns a franchise to expand on the five-book series, it would be exciting to see a huge Disney franchise with more people of color as the lead.